Spanish buys

Spain’s designers are creating accessible seating which is becoming more easily available in the UK. Nicky Churchill picks the best of the newcomers

The Spanish furniture and lighting industry has grown in leaps and bounds, with all the major design companies now represented in the European design capitals. Spain’s national trade fair is FIM, the Fiera Internacional del Meuble, held each autumn in Valencia. Here more than 40 companies gather to show the newest and the best of the Spanish avant-garde to both the home market and international buyers. The product is a mixed bag, but is predominantly furniture and lighting aimed at both the domestic end of the market and the contract sector. Here we look at what is new and where you can buy Spanish in the UK.

Many of last year’s products first seen in prototype are now available in finished form. Stua’s Globus chair by Jesus Gasca, which caused quite a stir at last year’s show, is now in production and available in various wood and painted finishes. Great attention has been paid to the back of this chair, which lends itself well to restaurant and café use. The Globus chair has recently become available here through UK agent PS Interiors from 95 trade. From Indecasa comes Aldara, the company’s newest design in polished aluminium by Joan Casas i Ortinez. The aluminium tube structure supports a natural steamed beech seat and fluted back, offered in four wood stains and black lacquer. Aldara has been designed to complement the new BC collection of tables and will be available to the trade from Astro Designs from 125.

For those who favour wood, the stylish yet solid Olga chair created by Liévore Asociados for Andreu World provides a soft option, as does Margarita Virnes’ Serena collection from Carlos Jane Camacho, a series of three models with wooden backs and wide upholstered seats. Of the newer products, Casas presents Pila – a low- or high-back stacking chair designed by Alfredo Arribas. Here, the interior shell is moulded wood covered with polyurethane and upholstered in leather or fabric. The steel underframe and legs are available in nickel finish or painted and the optional armrests are anodised or painted cast aluminium.

Although Enea stayed away from Valencia this year, the new Josep Llusc chair seen recently in London at 100% Design is worth a mention. Eina is a versatile colourful stacking chair suited to restaurants, lecture halls, schools and offices. It has a steel structure, painted, polished or chromed with seat and back in injected polypropylene. It comes with or without arms, and for presentation areas a writing tablet can be incorporated which does not hinder stacking. It’s now available from Atrium from 129.

For more relaxed seating, Andreu World introduces the Garbo chair, a new design in beech from Nancy Robbins. And from Disform comes the Oslo collection designed by Jordi Miralbell and Mariona Raventòs, which includes small armchairs, two-seater sofas, high and low stools and tables, all in solid beechwood.

But among all this Spanish avant-garde there are a few British designers shining through. Terence Woodgate, who has collaborated with Punt Mobles for some years, has now extended his talents to design a new sofa for Casas. And Matthew Hilton has developed a solid British design for Barcelona-based Disform. Hilton has named this new collection after himself, with each model designed for a different function and space. Hilton 1, 2 and 3 are upholstered armchairs, each distinguished by the slightly different shapes of the armrests. Hilton Hall is a club chair version aimed at public areas and hotels, and is also offered in a two-seater version. Hilton Books and Hilton Times are designed for reading rooms and libraries – both feature a cedar wood frame and upholstered seat and back cushion. The clever detail with these last two is the shelving and newspaper racks which are incorporated into the arms of the cedarwood structure. Hilton Books is pictured here with Glassbox, a new shelving-cum-display system by Jorge Pensi.

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